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Mutualisms between bees and crops in tropical agroecosystems in Mexico
Pollinators are a vital help in keeping acceptable levels of crop production worldwide (Klein 2007, etc.). However, their rapid loss (Biesmeijer 2007, etc.) is currently becoming one of the biggest concerns for food safety and environment conservation. This situation has led a group of scientists (most of them leading the present initiative) to initiate investigations on this matter in the ALARM and the Bee Shop projects inside the EU s FP6, mainly on pollinators from Europe, but with an appendix on bees from the neotropics. But since tropical diversity of pollinators remains largely unknown, this context drives the present project to propose the first large-scale study on pollinating bees in Mexico, drivers of their population dynamics and maintenance of the ecosystem services they provide in the form of pollination. is one of the countries where bee diversity and economic use are highly linked. On one side, it is the third largest Apis mellifera honey exporter, which means a great socio-economic impact of honey production. On the other side, its southern part belongs to one of the world s 25 great biodiversity hot-spots, thus implying a large diversity of native bees that pollinate crops and wild plants, hence contributing both to the food production and to the conservation of plant biodiversity. Unfortunately, increasing land use and deforestation probably lead to a loss of pollinating bees, undermining their diversity and potential benefits for crops production and conservation of biodiversity. The aim of our project is therefore to investigate the links between landscape, biodiversity of bees and their impact on crop production in the southern tropical Mexican areas of Yucatan and Chiapas, in order to target jointly on poverty reduction by sustainable production of food and conservation of biodiversity.
Honeybee, bumblebee, pathogens, stingless bee
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